Congress slams Kejriwal over ‘diluted’ Janlokpal Bill

The Congress Thursday claimed that the “purpose of the India Against Corruption movement had been defeated” by the “dilution” of the Janlokpal Bill by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party. Delhi unit president Ajay Maken said that the draft Bill, tabled by the government Monday, “shows Kejriwal’s intentions as a strong Lokpal would be punishing to […]

Written by Naveed Iqbal | New Delhi | Published: December 4, 2015 2:21:08 am
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The Congress Thursday claimed that the “purpose of the India Against Corruption movement had been defeated” by the “dilution” of the Janlokpal Bill by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party.

Delhi unit president Ajay Maken said that the draft Bill, tabled by the government Monday, “shows Kejriwal’s intentions as a strong Lokpal would be punishing to his own MLAs”.

Maken also claimed that the draft Bill was a “weak” one.

The party released a white paper on the “dilutions” in the Janlokpal Bill and claimed that apart from removing the financial clauses from the new draft, “which virtually guarantees that it will never receive the Lieutenant Governor’s approval,” there are several new changes which render the Bill ‘toothless’.

The 2015 version of the Janlokpal Bill, instead of including stringent punishment for the corrupt, “has provided for more stringent punishment for the complainant by adding rigorous imprisonment in cases of misinformation”.

Section 9(2) of the Delhi Janlokpal Bill, 2015 states — every person who wilfully or maliciously makes any false complaint under this Act, shall on conviction be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to one year or a fine up to Rs one lakh or both.

Maken alleged that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal “was not someone who could have made these changes by mistake. He has been involved with every draft of the bill and it is shocking that the bill should turn out in its current form”.

The white paper also pointed out the absence of the “Redressal of Grievances and Citizen’s Charter” from the draft. It said that the 2014 draft spoke of a citizen’s charter and also included establishment of an appellate authority.

Additionally, clauses concerning provision for investigation only by Group A officers and setting up an investigation and prosecution wing have been removed, said the white paper.

The new draft states that the investigating officers and agencies will be provided “with the consent of the government”, said the Congress.

By changing the definition of “public servant”, the new bill puts MLAs outside the ambit of the Lokpal, said the party.

“However, under Section 17(6) of the 2014 bill, the Janlokpal had complete power to suspend MLAs pending any corruption related enquiry against them,” said the Congress.

The Bill has also been attacked by former AAP leader Prashant Bhushan and his father Shanti Bhushan, who termed it a “maha jokepal”.

The BJP, which has three members in the assembly, has said the Bill has flaws and the party will support it only if AAP agrees to “repair its illegalities”.

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